WASHINGTON. — President Donald Trump signed an order on Monday temporarily halting access to several employment-based visas, affecting thousands of people seeking to work in the US.
The technology industry said the move would hurt the economy.
The order freezes new H1-B and H-4 visas, used by technology workers and their families, as well as L visas for intra-company transfers and most J visas for work — and study-abroad programs, including au pairs, through the end of the year. The issuance of new green cards will also remain halted through the end of the year.
The new action will pause some H2-B visas for seasonal workers, with an exception for those in the food-processing industry, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters Monday. Twitter and Amazon.com called the order “short-sighted,” saying immigrant tech labour could help the US economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Alphabet chief executive officer Sundar Pichai said on Twitter he was “disappointed” and that “we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all.”
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said in a tweet the order goes too far.
India’s NASSCOM, the trade body representing IT service giants like Infosys Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, called the Trump administration’s decision “misguided and harmful to the US economy.”
Noting the benefits that overseas workers bring, it said in a statement that “Without their continued contributions to the US economy, the economic pain would worsen, industry would slow, and the timeline for a treatment and cure of Covid-19 would lengthen.” — Bloomberg.